Author: I. Buicliu, Citizen Journalist
A local ratepayers’ group has applied for leave to appeal a lower court decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Last year, the Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society (RRoCSS) challenged a Central Saanich by-law allowing local farmer Ian Vantreight to subdivide 14 hectares of land for housing, contrary to the District’s Official Community Plan. The Society lost, and appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal, where they also lost.
“We figured we’d spent enough money on this issue,” said Ian Cameron, RRoCSS president, “But our lawyers felt that it was an important issue, and we decided to go ahead if we could do it at no cost to us. West Coast Environmental Law provided funding, so we’re going ahead with it.”
“In a nutshell, the argument is that the Supreme Court of Canada last considered this kind of issue in 1990, and in that case the court was split on the issue of the approach to take to them. In any event, since that time (a) OCPs have become much more important, (b) OCPs have become much more sophisticated and detailed, and (c) courts have been a little confused about how to deal with them, as is evidenced by the conflicting decisions in different Cdn jurisdictions … so the assistance of the Supreme Court of Canada is required to clarify the proper approach to take,” said Cameron.
There are two steps in an appeal to the Supreme Court: a leave to appeal is filed, and if the court agrees to hear the case the appeal is filed and heard. The Court does not give reasons if it decides not to hear an appeal.